Crispy baked chicken legs (drumsticks) are a quick and easy meal the whole family will love. Just trim and pat dry some chicken legs, add simple spices, and bake them in the oven—perfectly crispy, moist, and tender.
Everybody needs great chicken recipes, and this baked chicken legs recipe is one of the easiest and best for the home cook. With only 10 minutes of preparation and simple seasoning, you will have an economical meal that kids and adults love after cooking in the oven.
😊Why you will love this recipe
- Easy and quick to prep in only 10 minutes, then into the oven to cook for about 35 minutes.
- Baking at a high temperature gives you crispy skin without frying and is faster in your busy household.
- Simple seasoning but easy to change to what you love.
- An economical meal.
- Everybody loves baked chicken drumsticks, even the pickiest kids.
👨🍳How to bake chicken legs
- Preheat oven to the temperature of your choice— 400° or 425° suggested.
- Prepare a baking sheet with sides like a sheet pan with foil and a rack if you have one.
- Pat dry and trim the chicken drumsticks.
- Season any way you want. Some Kosher salt and black pepper are good, or the seasoning of your choice.
- Cook the chicken legs in the oven until an internal temperature of 185° or more—about 35 minutes.
⏰How long to bake chicken legs (drumsticks)
It takes about 35 minutes at 425° to cook chicken legs in the oven to 185° internal temperature. The variables: the chicken leg size and the oven temperature.
- Chicken legs at 350°F convection or 375°F conventional – about 45-50 minutes
- Chicken legs at 375°F convection or 400°F conventional – about 40-45 minutes
- Chicken legs at 400°F convection or 425°F conventional – about 35-40 minutes
- Chicken legs at 425°F convection – about 35 minutes (I don't suggest 450°F conventional, do 425°F conventional and add a few minutes)
The lower the temperature you use, the less crispy your chicken legs will be.
Always use an instant-read thermometer. COOK TO A FINAL INTERNAL TEMPERATURE. PLEASE, NEVER BY TIME ALONE.
- Chicken legs (chicken drumsticks)-Skin-on bone-in chicken legs. Pat dry with paper towels and trim.
- Seasoning-we always use All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:1 and 7:2:2, which is salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. But use the seasoning you love. Even marinade is fine. If using BBQ sauce, skip other seasoning and brush on near the end of cooking.
- Oil is optional and if used, brush on before seasoning. It will change the final texture of the skin from thin and crispy to a little thicker but moister.
🌡️What is the best final temperature for chicken legs
The best final internal temperature for Baked Chicken Legs is 185° or higher when the connective tissue melts and the meat becomes moist and tender.
The connective tissue will start to melt at 175°. By 185°, you are getting moist and tender results. America Test Kitchen takes it a step further for both thighs and drumsticks and suggests 190° to 195° as the target internal temperature range. American Test Kitchen—For Perfectly Tender Chicken Thighs, Overcook Them.
Many want to cook chicken legs to 165°, the minimum safe internal temperature for chicken for the FDA, but they will be tough and stringy from connective tissue.
- DO NOT SKIP THE PAT DRY, or you will not have crispy skin. Please see Chicken: To Rinse or Not To Rinse?
- Check the cut joint area for loose parts. You may be handing this to a child and don't need loose bone aspirated.
- Cooking on a rack gets the meat off the pan, and with convection, all sides of the legs will be cooked evenly. But if you don't have a rack, use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Cook at high temp, and you must use a meat thermometer to be sure you get to 185°. Do not guess.
- Spice as you want. Just salt and pepper are enough.
- Scale to any amount you need.
A lot of the fat and fluid drains while cooking chicken drumsticks. You can cook drumsticks without a rack, but you will be happier with a rack. The cooking will be more even, quicker, and have easier cleanup.
You can if you wish. Without oil, the skin will be dry and crispy, but with a bit of olive oil or cooking spray, it will be thicker and less crispy.
No, it will interfere with the cooking.
The best oven temperature to bake chicken legs is 400° to 425°. It will give crispy skin, and the meat reaches 185° or higher when the connective tissue melts and the meat becomes moist and tender.
Lower temperatures, like 350° or 375°, can be used, but the skin will not be as crispy, baking time will increase, and the meat may be dryer.
How to store leftovers?
Good refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Also, they should freeze fine for 3-4 months. Reheat by thawing first, then reheat in an oven.
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This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat oven to 425° convection. Pat dry the chicken legs with paper towels.
Trim off any extra skin and any loose joint pieces.
Spice to taste with salt and pepper. Use other seasonings if you wish. Here I'm using All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:1 and 7:2:2.
Place the legs on a prepared sheet pan with the thicker part of the chicken legs to the outside. Line the tray with aluminum foil to help clean up. A rack elevates the chicken to allow all sides to cook evenly. You can cook without the rack but better with it. Of course, a heavy spray of PAM on the rack or foil.
Cook to 185°+ internal temp—about 35 minutes. DO NOT STOP SHORT of 185°. But up to 195° is fine.
Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. They are way too hot to eat right away and will be better after a rest.
Baked Chicken Legs - Quick and Easy
- 6 legs Chicken legs - about 1 ½ lbs-Scale to as many as you want
- salt and pepper to taste - or 7:2:1 or 7:2:2 seasoning
- Preheat oven to 425° convection. Pat dry the chicken legs with paper towels.
- Trim off any extra skin and any loose joint pieces.
- Spice to taste with salt and pepper. Use other seasonings if you wish.
- Place the legs on a prepared sheet pan with the thicker part of the chicken legs to the outside. Line the tray with aluminum foil to help clean up. A rack elevates the chicken to allow all sides to cook evenly. You can cook without the rack but better with it. Of course, a heavy spray of PAM on the rack or foil.
- Cook to 185°+ internal temp—about 35 minutes. DO NOT STOP SHORT of 185°. But up to 195° is fine.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. They are way too hot to eat right away and will be better after a rest.
Your Own Private Notes
- DO NOT SKIP THE PAT DRY, or you will not have crispy skin.
- Check the cut joint area for loose parts—you may be handing this to a child.
- Cooking on a rack to get the meat off the pan, and with convection, all sides of the chicken legs will be cooked evenly. If no rack, then flip at 20 minutes.
- Cook at high temp and you must use a thermometer to be sure you get to 185°+. Do not guess.
- Spice as you want.
- Scale to any amount you need
- Skip the seasoning and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce for the last 5 minutes to make great oven-baked BBQ chicken legs.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days. Or will freeze well for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally published September 9, 2012. Updated with discussion and photos updated to improve the presentation and add more information. The recipe remains the same. Please enjoy the update.
I'm so happy I found your recipe! I've never found a simple chicken recipe I liked very much, but this looks like The One!
I'm wondering what you think of the recent news that putting meat ahead of time into a marinade is basically pointless? Two chefs from a major test kitchen were guests on a cooking show I listen to and they said that they'd done exhaustive testing and discovered that marinades (whether lemon-based, vinegar, alcohol — it didn't matter) basically just remained on the surface of the meat, penetrated only about 1/8" into the flesh, no matter whether it was left for 15 minutes or overnight, and you would do much better to just use the marinade as a sauce. I've always been frustrated with marinades for just this reason, so I was very happy to hear this. What a relief to skip the whole step of making the marinade and preparing the whole thing the night before, etc! Any opinion on this?
Thanks for the recipe! My oven is preheating now!
I do try to do simple recipes that work. Hopefully, it works for you.
Basically, I agree, mostly. But, if you want a particular flavor for a meat, that 1/8 inch of intense flavor is really nice. But, the “pro” grillers/smokers use injectors for a reason. I think dry rubs are about the same and mostly I just rub and go anymore.
Remember, brines are not the same as marinades. They do more. Smaller molecules involved, osmotic gradients etc. I do have a chicken breast recipe called super moist that is a combo brine/marinade that works well.
Thanks for the note and welcome to the blog.
This recipe is amazing! Kids love it! And it's not fried! Thank you so much!
It does seem to be a mother's favorite.
Thanks for the note.
I've made this recipe many times and have a batch in the oven right now. I rarely leave recipe reviews but this is long past due... these turn out perfect every time, crispy on the outside, juicy and flavorful on the inside, and with the high cook temp they are done so quickly compared to other recipes. I love your website Dr. Dan, and I adore the pictures of your dogs!
Thanks for the note. This is one of my top recipes.
Molly and Lilly say thanks.
I love this recipe! Although I only cook mine to 155F so it stays a nice off-white / pale pink. Very tender.
Try to go to 165 for safety. Salmonella is not fun. I still suggest 185 for this recipe.
Thanks for the note.
Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe! As a graduate student money it tight so this recipe is a lifesaver. I've been making these about once a week for a couple of months now. I love to play with the spices. I've been using Penzey's lemon pepper recently, but I also love it with their Galena Street blend.
Dr. Dan, I cooked per instructions. The legs tasted great (used your seasoning 7-2-2) but didn’t brown, much and the skin was not real crispy. Even tho, I will use recipe again, but wondering what I might try differently to get results you and others are getting. Cooked in convection oven.
Only a few comments. Be sure to pat dry. Try higher placement in the oven. And you can always hit it with a minute or two of broiler.
Thanks for the note.
Might be a silly question, but I get this every time I bake these or any kind of drumstick recipe. Is there any way to release the water from the chicken drumstick after they are done cooking, or should that even be happening?
I've started to poke the wings with a fork after they are done cooking, I'm just curious if that is the right way to do it or not.
Not a problem that I have ever seen...
So what to do about it? First let's discuss cause. I have two possibles. First that the drumstick (or wing) has been previous frozen that does lead to some free fluid. Think of those ice crystals under the skin. Next is not allowing fluid long enough after cooking to reabsorb. The main reason for the rest after cooking most meats.
If it is previous frozen, then get fresh. Or change stores since their supply chain may freeze somewhere along the line. The second issue is obviously to allow a longer rest.
If neither of those, poke your holes if it continues since I have no other ideas.
Thanks for the note.
Made this for my parents and grandma tonight and they all enjoyed it! I cooked 9 drumsticks at 450F (conventional oven) for 35 minutes and the chicken turned out really delicious. Thank you for this recipe!
Thanks for the excellent write-up and recipe! Giving this a go this afternoon! 😁
Hi - I came upon your site as I was looking for something else, and am I glad I did!! It's wonderful. I was encouraged to try my convection oven for the first time, after many years of only using my conventional setting. The drummies were out of this world! The crispest, juiciest chicken I have ever made. My husband and I loved them. I'm looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thank you!
This on my most popular recipe. Have a look around and let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for the note.
I was one of those who cooked drums at a much lower temp for a much longer time. They were always good drumsticks, but I tried your way and they are ten times better!! Thank you for being generous and sharing your recipes. God bless Dan-the doctor of palates!!
Thank you for making this as easy as and cheaper than frozen pizzas... I used to cook, I stopped, and have my reasons BUT I love my husband and want to give him FOOD again. Anything that can give us all more time together, less fanciness, but honest goodness, I'm really appreciative of.
Irene T Houle
Love this recipe! It is absolutely my go-to for cooking up drumsticks, works equally well on the grill
(we turn them every 7 minutes when we cook them on the grill). Have used the spice on thighs and breasts as well. Making some right now for my son and his buddies.
Thanks for the note and keep feeding those growing teens.
I just wanted to say thank you a million for sharing. Having never made drumsticks before, I came to google for advice and chose your recipe based on simplicity. My boyfriend loves these drumsticks, I've made them several times now and he continues to tell me 'best chicken I've ever had.'
I try to keep things simple and logical.
Thank you so much for this crispy, delicious recipe! I've made it twice for my family and it was a hit both times. Super easy and economical! Even the leftovers are wonderful. This will definitely become a regular dish in the meal rotation.
Thanks for the note. I do love a good drummie.
So good! My grand kids love it and so do I. Easy and quick! Thank you.
Found this recipe today after I found a great sale on chicken drumsticks. My husband is a huge fan of wings but I personally am not a fan of chicken wiings (and drumsticks) unless the skin is really really crispy, I made up your seasoning mix, made sure the drumsticks were patted dry, and followed your cooking instructions. Once the 35 minstrel were up I brushed some with a bar b questions sauce, some with a honey garlic sauce and a few with a General Tao sauce and wow oh wow!!!They were probably the best wings I've ever had! My husband said they were fantastic! This recipe is definitely a keeper!
This is the easiest chicken recipe that turns out perfect every time. I found this recipe after I had purchased a huge amount of drummies ( they had an incredible sale). I only have a countertop convection oven. I've found that mine only need to cook about 25 min. Probably due to its size. But I pack as many as I can on the rack and they come out perfect. Plus I made the 7:2:1 seasoning. Perfection! Thank you.